Saturday, 26 November 2011

There are seven children in this family though only three are of minor age.  Eddyn, Walter and Elvis are being cared for by their older siblings.  They live in a home with their two older brothers that is rented for them by their school sponsors. 

The Children
Mercedes, 25, is in a shaky marriage with four children.  She works sifting sand out of the river and her income is used to support her own children.

Gerber, 23, was born July 29, 1988.  His student number is 327.  He graduated from high school this year and would like to go to the university in 2012. 

Juan Carlos, 21, was born February 23, 1990.  His student number is 326 and he will be in 11th grade in 2012.  He attends weekend school and works during the week. 

Glendy, 19, was born July 8, 1992.  She graduated from 9th grade in 2011 and was married in December 2011.  She is expecting her first baby in May.  Her student number was 317. 

Eddyn Almilcar, 15, was born November 1, 1996.  His student number is 110 and he will be in 8th grade in 2012.

Walter Emilio, 13, was born October 1, 1998. His student number is 109 and he will be in the 6th grade in 2012.

Elvis Alexander, 9, was born February 28, 2001. His student number is 108 and he will be in 5th grade in 2012.

The Family
The father drank a lot and left the family 9 years ago; there has been no contact from him since.  The mother was left to care for all the children, including two more who have died.  She worked in a field to provide for them but got cancer ‘from working so hard’, Mercedes said.  She struggled a long time with the cancer and died in September 2009.

The family is supported by the income earned by Herbert, Juan Carlos and Glendy.  Glendy works at Mayan Families, and Herbert and Juan Carlos work together in a bakery making bread.

Their House
The sponsors for Glendy and her younger brothers built them a new house but during Tropical Storm Agatha in May 2010 the kitchen and the bathroom fell into the nearby raging river.  Since then the sponsors have provided a rented house for Glendy and her five brothers to live in, and Mercedes lives in what is left of the old house (two rooms with an outdoor kitchen) with her children and their grandmother.  In December 2011 Glendy was married to Joel and moved into his house.  The five brother remain in the rented house.  The siblings own the land the old house is on, inherited from their father, but because of erosion, soon the whole house will be taken away by the river.   

The rented house does not have a kitchen so Mercedes cooks at the old house for the whole family.  The three younger children go to the old house after school to be with the adults there, but at night they go home to the rented house to sleep.  The houses are close to each other in Panajachel.  At the rented house there are two bedrooms.  In Glendy’s room there are two beds, one for Walter and one for Elvis.  The other bedroom has two beds for Herbert, Edy and Juan Carlos.  Walter needs a new single mattress.   They have electricity and running water.  Neither house has a water filter. 

Juan Carlos is very thin and doesn’t want to eat because of a painful stomach.  He needs to see a doctor but can’t go because they can’t afford it.   In December a donation was received to pay for Juan Carlos to see the doctor. 

When asked what their most pressing need is, Glendy said it is medical care for Juan Carlos, clothes and shoes for the boys, and food.

Their Needs

$50               Medical Care for Juan Carlos Thank You! Dec 2011
$63 each     Two water filters
$44               Single mattress for Walter
$45 each      Clothes for the three younger boys
$30 each      Shoes for the three younger boys

How to Donate

  • To use PayPal, click the button below to go to Mayan Families' donation page. Enter the donation amount in the Family Aid field. Enter FA161 for the Family Name. Specify the purpose of the donation in the Extra Notes box.

  • To pay by check, include a note specifying FA161 as the recipient and the purpose of the donation. Mail to:

Mayan Families
PO Box 52
Claremont, NC 28610

Friday, 25 November 2011

Glendy gets married

Glendy met her husband, Joel, while working for Mayan Families.  Joel handles Mayan Families’ computers and organizes their masses of photos.  They fell in love and decided to get married.  They are expecting a baby in May.

Since Glendy was the ‘little mother’ of her brothers, the family situation will change a little now that Glendy have moves to her new home with her husband.  Glendy’s older siblings will take over caring for the younger brothers but the younger ones are welcome to spend time at Glendy’s new home.  The older brothers will remain in the rented home and care for the boys in the evenings and mornings and they will continue going to the old house after school to be with Mercedes until their brothers are home.  The monthly food donation this family receives will go home to the little boys instead of Glendy now.

Here is Sharon's account of the wedding:

Dwight and I were the padrinos for the wedding. Joel arrived with his family. He looked very handsome in his new suit...and more than a little nervous!  Then Glendy arrived in the Mayan Families car that had been hurriedly decorated with white balloons and streamers. Glendy was sitting in the front seat and it seemed like 20 of her family members were squished in the back seat.  Glendy looked very beautiful.  She was escorted by her uncle and her grandmother. Her eldest brother, Gerber, who has worked at a bakery for a long time, made several of the wedding cakes.  He had been up since 2 am baking.

First they had the civil ceremony which was performed by the mayor of the town. He does a very good wedding ceremony. He talks about the rights and responsibilities of the wife and the husband. He talks about how the society was/is very macho and how a husband should behave without being a machismo, how he should put his family ahead of his friends, etc. He adds a lot of humor to his wedding ceremony and has the audience often laughing and the couple relaxing a little.
After that ceremony we walked next door to the Municipal Salon which was festooned with white balloons and streamers.  Joel has a very large family and they had all pitched in with the decorating. Then began the Evangelical ceremony except that the pastor seemed to be missing and after waiting some time, fortunately, another one was found who could quickly fill in. Even though he had little time to prepare, this pastor had a least 10 pages of notes and was able to preach for an hour....and then he performed the religious ceremony.
After that Dwight and I made a very, very brief speech. The couple then stood and we wrapped the veil around Joel's shoulder, thus binding them together. Dwight pulled the string on the large paper mache bell and confetti poured over Joel and Glendy.  This was the time that the well wishers formed a long line waiting to give their gifts to the couple and give them their congratulations, hugs and kisses.
The last person to hug Glendy was her big brother, Gerber. It was a very emotional hug for them. They were both crying. Glendy would be leaving the home that they shared and moving in with her new family. Together they have been through the trauma of caring for their mother, losing her and raising their little brothers.
Then lots of plates of delicious Pepian chicken were served. Joel's mother and his aunts had been cooking for days.  Yesterday morning, I had a basket of tamales delivered to the door, then the family had a lunch for the closest family and friends – at least 50 people – before the wedding and then came the wedding dinner that fed at least 200 people. Weddings are not small in have to invite all the family...and this includes a lot of extended family.
Music played, everyone ate dinner, then it was the time for the children look at all the balloons and try to find one to pull down, once one goes then everyone starts pulling at the decorations to get their balloon or keepsake to take home!  Lots of photos, cake and a very smiling, happy couple!